George Clinton, Valerie June, Wolf Alice, Belgian artists Lili Grace and Wanthanee and dozens more are featured in Part 2 of Reader's Choice for 2021
Part Two
Readers’ Choice 2021
  • Debbi Salmonsen is thinking about New Orleans. The Vancouver Folk Music Festival’s Artistic/Executive Director shares a couple of songs by two top acts she’s enjoyed there.

  • My Belgian cousin, Jan Vochten, listened to more music than ever during the second year of COVID lockdowns. Adding to his already broad musical palette, now he’s trading songs with his 17 year-old daughter. He offers a lengthy and wonderfully varied playlist. Settle in!

The 4th Annual Readers’ Choice

Kurated readers share their favourite music of the last year in the annual Readers’ Choice series. Anything musical is welcomed whether its new, an old favourite, something self-composed and more. Thanks to all the contributors!

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Kris Sig Plastic V3

31 December 2021

Debbi Salmonsen
Vancouver, BC

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The wild and wonderful George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic

2-Song Playlist on YouTube
Can You Get to That by George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic
Broken Hearted Blues by Tuba Skinny

A New Orleans State of Mind

As I recently relinquished a ticket to New Orleans, purchased in 2020 just before COVID reared it’s adaptive, contagious head, I find myself thinking of the city: its fantastic architecture, food, music, and people. And some of the wonderful music I’ve been blessed to experience there over the past decade. 

On my last visit in 2018, my family and I experienced George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic in a great concert at the House of Blues. This inspires my first musical pick Can You Get To That. It’s one of my favourite songs, and great to dance around the house to, when the weather outside is gloomy. 

My second musical pick, Broken Hearted Blues, is by the New Orleans-based group Tuba Skinny.  The horns, the singing, the vibe of this incredibly talented band just gets better and better. They often busk on Royal Street in addition to headlining international music festivals. Their unofficial leader and cornet player, Shaye Cohn, is also an incredible piano player.

About Debbi: Debbi Salmonsen has loved music since early childhood, and is currently the Artistic / Executive Director of the Vancouver Folk Music Festival.

Jan Vochten
Mortsel, Belgium

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Memphis-born Valerie June released her latest album –The Moon and Stars: Prescriptions for Dreamers – in 2021.
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UK act Wolf Alice‘s third album, Blue Weekend, is their first to go to the top of the British charts.

66-song playlist on Spotify
(NOTE there are more songs on the playlist than noted below)

When the world hands you lockdown, make a playlist!

My list for this year is exceptionally long and melancholy for personal reasons. During this second “lockdown year” I had more time to discover new music. It seemed like more songs were published than usual – a number of them by new Belgian bands.

Some excellent songs that did not make it to my list, because it would be too long:
Andreas Scholl,  Guardian Angel, A 2017  recording by this famous German countertenor.
War on Drugs, new release: Living Proof, Change
Lili Grace, Traveller,  2 Belgian sisters.
Thomas Dybdahl,  From Grace, Great Norwegian singer songwriter
Ada Victoria, South Gotta Change,
Dans Dans,
 Cinder Bay, Belgian jazz band.
Dua Lipa & Angèle, Fever,
Amanda Bergman Falcons,
Douglas Firs,
At Least Once (live) Belgian band
Charlotte Cardin, Anyone Who Loves Me
Melissa Nadler, Bessie Did You Make It
Linda Thompson,
Robert Plant, Alison Krauss:
Last Kind Word Blues, from the excellent new album: Raise the Roof
Meskerem Mees: Seasons Shift  a new young Belgian singer, great first album.

About Jan: Jan Vochten is 72, living in Belgium (thus a number of Belgian bands in my list). During the long lockdown I have listened to music more than ever. Sometimes my daughter Hanne (17) and I take turns presenting songs. I introduced her to the Rolling Stones, Gimme Shelter, (with the story of the background vocals by Merry Clayton)  and she presented Jordan Suaste, Body